How-To Geek

Select Files using Check Boxes in Windows Vista

Windows Vista has a new feature in Windows Explorer that is very useful.. checkboxes! Instead of holding down the Ctrl key and clicking a bunch of different files to select them, you can just click the checkboxes… no more accidentally copying the files or getting to the bottom and losing the selection. The only caveat is that it isn’t turned on by default.

To enable this feature, go to the Organize menu and choose “Folder and Search Options” from the menu. From there, click the View tab, and you should see this near the bottom:


Just check the “Use check boxes to select items” checkbox, and you will now be able to use the checkboxes. (It works best in detail mode)


Note that you can click the checkbox next to Name to select all files. Or Ctrl+A.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/9/07

Comments (11)

  1. Oilyrag

    Nice job. Even quicker than selecting >Edit>Select All. Keep up the ace work.

  2. coolbigbrother


  3. engineer

    Neat! First thing I’ve seen that makes me happy I have Vista (check boxes for copying/moving). I had wondered why those spare copies kept showing up.

  4. Jon Randahl

    I’ve needed this for years! Now how did I miss this post the first time it came around? Need to not have so many feeds to read I guess! Another great tip to add to my growing repository thanks to you! Cheers!

  5. Halmad

    Wow! This is excellent

  6. The Everator

    Yes, finally… I like it so much, I’ve retro-fitted it for Windows Explorer in XP. Details at:

  7. Miguel

    Great tip….

    Does someone know how to do this with a shortcut key? this way you can toggle check boxes files checking.

    Something similar to:

  8. KC

    Thank you, although I was actually finding the way to turn it off. Much appreciated.

  9. Triple_R

    Nice Tip Man, keep exploring!!!!

  10. Gary

    OMG…. thank you SOOOO much!!! I love this site! It’s got answers to ALLLLLL my Vista questions! >.

  11. John Chorley

    I’ve enabled this on my Vista Installation. Nice one.

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